Only In Israel

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Exposing another "Islamic charity".

It all started when I stumbled on this story on Ynet.

Iyaz Ali, a British citizen of Pakistani origin, arrested by the Shin Bet three weeks ago, admitted to having aided Hamas through his work for a British Islamic aid organization in Ramallah and Gaza.

Ali, 36, is a humanitarian aid worker for the Islamic Relief Worldwide organization (IRW)

Ali, who was appointed as project manager in Gaza last December, told interrogators that he had transferred aid to Hamas charities al-Wafa and al-Salah, banned in Israel for backing a terror group and inciting against the Jewish State.

Documents found in Ali's laptop point to links between the IRW and illegal Hamas funds in Britain and Saudi Arabia.

Investigators also found pictures of senior Nazi officials, of IDF emblems defaced with swastikas and of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Well, there's nothing that unusual so far, another rotten "charity" working with terrorists, but then I figured I've heard of the "Islamic Relief" charity group. It was right there on WRMEA's "charitable organizations" page which contained other terrorist-linked "charities", and which I exposed in an earlier post.

Now, not only does this organization's ties to Hamas have now been exposed, it's other "charitable" organization are questionable as well. Militant Islam Monitor exposes it's troubling definition to the word "orphan". You see, the word "orphan" means, according to the Oxford English Dictionary: "a child whose parents are dead". The way the IRW defines it in their site is a bit different:

The criterion for selection of an orphan is determined by the situation of the child. Children are selected whose fathers have died or have been killed. Their mother, a relative or a recognized institution cares for most orphans. Your monthly contribution will not only benefit the orphan, but his/her family as well.

Somehow it sounds like a whitewash to me. So I went to their site and attempted to adopt an orphan. Then I saw something really weird.

Look! The messiah is here, her father died in 1987 and yet mysteriously the mom gave birth to a 6 year old daughter. The way I see it, there are 3 options: either the mom was pregnant for 13 years, either the daughter is slowly developed and ages on a 3:1 rate, or maybe, just maybe, "Islamic Relief" is making orphans up as a way to extort money.

And Please, if you do make up orphans to extory money, could you atleast attempt to make it look real and not end up looking like complete and utter morons?

Now for the second child, his name is Ali Mahmoud and his father died on December 22nd 2005. Seems recent enough, so I figured, maybe I'll check the news for any deaths of that date. And what do you know, the BBC comes to rescue.

Three Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian medical sources say.

The men were shot dead as they tried to flee a building that had been sealed off by Israeli troops, witnesses said.

Well, that's circumstantial, I mean a lot of Palestinian men die in the same day, not necessarily meaning anything. But wait, Electronic Intifadeh has their names and positions.

The victims were identified as: Bashar 'Abdul Latif Hanani, 22, from Beit Fourik village east of Nablus, the leader of the Abu 'Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Ahmed 'Abdul Ra'ouf Khaled al-Jayousi, 22, from Jayous village northeast of Qalqilya, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah movement; and Anas Ahmed Mahmoud al-Sheikh Hamad, 22, from Sineeria village southeast of Qalqilya, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The name, the age all fit. Sure it could be a coincidence, if you ask me it probably isn't. That may not be definitive, but the fake child sure is.

Now, we have a cheating "charity" with shady ties to Hamas and suspicious terrorist funding activities, wanna take a guess at who partially funds it?

congratulations, EU citizens, this is where your money goes to! According to EU's ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office) partner's list, one of the organizations supported by the EU is Islamic Relief Worldwide. Militant Islam Monitor also reads into some ISM ties to the group via a Thom Saffold, who is an ISM activist calling for support for the ISM and IRW in an online address. I wouldn't call that "solid", because it's just an online statement, but it does sound as genuine, and I wouldn't be surprised if ISM worked with IRW.

I'm telling you, sometimes when I research these kind of organizations, I get the distinct feeling they're all interconnected. It's amazing how closely these people work with each other, and how shady are the borders between stealing money for fake orphans and giving it to terrorists.

Update: The Islamic Relief Worldwide has erased all traces of the orphans in question. Details here. This serves as concrete evidence that this is not a computer error. If it was a computer error, why didn't they just correct the date, and instead chose to erase all the "orphans" in the list?

Court Martial

If there's a ritual no military service is complete without it's being court-martialed.
In an archaic ceremony which often seems as it was copied word by word from "Catch-22", people a few years older than you can easily take away your freedom, and land you in detention, or worse, jail. It all starts with a "complaint form", this is filled by an NCO or an officer, who then shoves you into the Commander's office (whether it's a Battalion commander, or a Company commander judging you), where you're identified, and the "trial" begins.

Calling it a trial is somewhat hard. The judge is often the accuser, there rarely are witnesses, you can't argue, and only have to answer "yes, sir" or "no, sir", unless asked for details. Then he gives you the ruling, which is a tricky part, since it's read from a peace of paper, in crypted military acronyms, and you have no idea whether you're guilty or not till he reaches the next part. The sentence. If you're found innocent, you salute and exit the room, if you're found guilty, you just leave without saluting.
To someone who has never been in the military it may sound ridiculous, to a soldier, it's a fatal obstacle to any vacation home, or worse, to completing the military service. You see, if you get more than 7 days in jail, not only will you serve those days in jail, you'll have to re-serve them for the military, before you complete your service. So basically, 28 days of jail, doesn't just mean 28 days of jail, but also additional 28 days before you're demobilized.

There's not much of a chance of actually winning one of those, especially for soldiers serving in combat. Everyone knows each other, and the punishment is usually set long before you even enter the trial, between the officers. Sometimes it can get pretty ridiculous (depending just how dumb is the officer who judges you). I mean I've heard of cases of astounding stupidity: a guy who interrupted the battalion commander's speech got 28 days in jail, then again, a guy who lost a weapon by leaving it in an unlocked car in an Arab Israeli village, got a week of detention.
This really is one of the most anachronistic things about the army. You feel so vulnerable, I mean as Israeli soldiers who get home pretty often compared to foreign troops (once in a month was my longest period without being home, usually it's around two weeks) you're pretty involved in civilian life. You hear the news, you know what trials should look like. And then you get back to the army and you're slapped in the face with the archaic custom which a court martial is, and the easiness of taking away your freedom.

I don't think it's ever going to change. But then again a lot of things I never thought will change, have changed during my service. I'll write a bit more about those things now, that I'm approaching the end of my service. But I have to say, I think the best solution for this problem is just getting demobilized. This way, they can't get to you.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A wonderfull lecture.

About a month ago, I heard a lecture by Neil Lazarus, an Israeli speaker on the issues of Israeli advocacy, international media and politics.

I don't meet a lot of people who work in Israeli advocacy in RL. Most of the people I know in that area I know via the Internet, so it was quite an experience to hear him phrase and summarize the stuff I usualy do into "howto"'s. Anyway the guy runs a site, and a blog. Very much recommended, especially's video section.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A small victory.

Every independence day (and even beforehand, on memorial day) the press always goes to the ultra orthodox neighbourhoods to shoot some pictures of Israeli ultra orthodox Jews spitting in the face of the country. They either don't stand during the siren (which sounds every memorial day to mark the memory of the soldiers who died defending this country), or they just burn Israeli flags, and practice grieving customs (wearing sacks, tearing their clothes, displaying black flags) on Independence day.
Now the press always rushes to get the powerful images of Jews trashing Israel and burning Israeli flags. This is a regular ritual in Israel, getting annoyed at them for not standing during the siren and then a few days later for burning flags. I have to say, though, that in the recent years, but the number of such incidents (or maybe just the press coverage) fell seriously. I don't know why, but I imagine it would have a lot to do with the suicide bombings striking even in ultra-orthodox anti-Zionist neighbourhoods, and thus it may have hit them that they are part of this country as well.
It is important to emphasize that the people who act as they do are a fraction of the ultra orthodox society. It's a few small sects, like Neturei Karta or Satmer hassidim who actually do those things.
I realize this may seem illogical to an outsider, to understand how Jews who live in Israel, hate this country so much, but you honestly have to set them apart from most Jews. They aren't exactly representatives of Jewish life. These sects keep many dark-age customs Judaism has gotten rid off, and aren't in general a good example of Jews as a whole. I know the Jewhaters out there just love showing their pictures in anti-Israeli protests, but they should really think if they want to associate themselves with backward cults who alienate most western values.

Anyway, I wanted to share a thought I often have when looking at their protests and their hateful signs and gestures. The thing is, this community, which was never Zionist got in a huge rift with most Israelis. When Hebrew was revived in the beginning of the 20th century, they refused to use it (for those of you who don't know, Hebrew was largely a dead language, used only in the synagogues and never in everyday life) . They called it blasphemy, and suggest that Hebrew should be kept to the synagogues and the everyday language should be Yiddish. The war on the language was bad. They burned Hebrew signs, refused to use Hebrew in their daily life, and taught their kids nothing but Yiddish.
And now, 100 years later, they bash my country and its founders with the language they refused to revive and use. They bash Zionism with the language Zionists made part of their ideology. And everytime one of them lifts one of those hateful signs, you should always remember, that's it's yet another small victory.

The break is over

I can't really explain what it is that kept me from updating the blog. Everytime I returned home from the army, I felt that everything I wanted to say was already discussed.
One another thing I have experienced for the first time in quite a few years is complete dissatisfaction with my government. Olmert (and I do love this guy), completely gave in to the Ultra Orthodox Shas party, which basically returns Israel quite a few years in time, to where the silent majority of people who have jobs and do military service is downtrodden by those who only take and do not give. But hey, this is democracy, you can't be satisfied all the time.